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Plans for a new rail yard on the Port Jervis Line

Union Tpke

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GOSHEN - After more than four years of silence, Metro-North Railroad is poised to spell out the specifics of its plan to build the midpoint yard and passing sidings necessary to boost train service on the Port Jervis line.

The railroad, which began its West of Hudson Regional Transit Access Study in 2008, will hold an open house about the plan from 4 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen. The last open house was held in 2012.
"Better rail service is key to our economy and will strengthen our ability to compete for new investments,'' said County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who was briefed on the plan last week. "This expansion demonstrates Metro-North's belief in Orange County's future."
At the open house, representatives of the railroad will present the culmination of the study's analysis of multiple alternatives for locating the yard and the sidings along the single-track line.
Elisa Van der Linde, Metro-North's assistant director of long-range planning, has previously identified the potential sites for the yard as being in the general vicinity of the railroad's stations in Harriman, Salisbury Mills and Campbell Hall.
As of now, with yards in Port Jervis and Hoboken, N.J., 95 miles apart and few sidings, the rail line is the equivalent of a one-way street. Trains can't travel in both directions at the same time and they can't turn around until they reach a yard.
Neuhaus said Metro-North put the cost at more than $150 million in 2012 dollars and predicted construction would take seven years to complete.
"It's taken a very long time to get to this point because the big hurdle was getting money in the capital plan,'' said Susan Metzger, chairwoman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's oversight committee for Metro-North and Orange County's representative. "But we're there now."
The money will be used for environmental studies, preliminary design and property acquisition for the yard and sidings.
"Of course, we're going to need a lot more in the next capital plan, but I'm optimistic that once we get started, we'll get it,'' said Metzger.
Metro-North originally undertook the $9.4 million study with the goal of building a spur between Stewart International Airport and the Port Jervis line, in the vicinity of Salisbury Mills.
It subsequently shifted the study's emphasis to the yard and sidings, improvements that would be necessary to provide the frequency of service that a spur would demand regardless of when it was built.

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